When you are dealing with an unexpected data loss of within a company the effect and severity of the data loss will of course depend on a number of factors, these being which system has failed, what data has been lost, how many employees are accessing the data on a hourly basis.
A typical example of a large data problem would be perhaps a failed disk or raid array on a Microsoft exchange server. E-mail is becoming the life blood of many organisations and without it effective client and supplier communications can quite literally cease.
The effect of a data loss will affect companies in different degrees so a larger corporation may suffer from a great cost due to the loss but a smaller company may struggle to survive the effects or may simply not have the cash flow in place to cope with a potentially very expensive recovery.
With the ever increasing reliance on IT most business owners will have started to become reasonably educated about the need for a disaster recovery plan for their business, and plans may have already been put in place but this does not make the system infallible as if the plan has note yet been tested, or has not been implemented which often happens if a business waits for suitable window if a server needs upgrading for example, then the company will still be open to risk.
So what is the cost of a data loss disaster? This is a question often asked by smaller business as they need to establish a sensible return on investment in order to justify the cost of setting up a plan. Unfortunately the return of investment is a negative one in most cases, that is unless there is a data emergency, then there will be no return on investment. There will on the other side of the coin though be a large risk reduction. A good measure that could be used for a sales organisation though could be loss of potential sales.
This can give very clear indicators as to potential revenue loss versus business down time and business continuity investment. For many organisations the loss of a days sales could have a very impact on cash flow and for larger companies potential loss could have an even greater effect.
Cost of lost sales is only one of the aspects that can be measured but other costs need to be taken into consideration as well many of which can be swept under the table if not factored. These could include the actual cost of employing a data recovery company in the first place or even punitive fines for missing contractual deadlines depending on what industry your business is in.
As well as the tangible costs intangible costs also need to be considered which could include the loss of potential clients or business credibility, the management overhead needed to get the business back on line again and the cost of manual data entry from paper records (if they are held) to populate the database once it has been restored or the server has been re-built.
Another crucial factor that needs to be taken into account during any data emergency is the sheer value of your company data, it is often extremely tempting to follow the path of least resistance and least cost by asking you IT department to try and rectify the situation, unfortunately history has shown that the chances of corrupting data even further are very high unless your IT department employs a data or raid recovery specialist.
Also if you are employing the services of one of the data recovery companies you need to check their potential methodology and ensure they will not work on the actual donor disks as it is crucial to keep the main data source intact at all times.
Specialist disaster recovery and raid recovery experts will use state of the art equipment is to recover lost data from raid servers, laptops and other storage media or network attached storage devices, and to make sure you data is safe just in case a data loss strikes again they should also supply remote server backup solutions for small and corporate businesses to ensure business continuity.